Water Safety

Make water safety your number one priority when visiting Cordell Hull Lake.  Of the 32 people who have drowned on the lake since its impoundment in 1973, 0 were wearing life jackets.

It’s a fact – life jackets do save lives! But they are only effective if worn properly. This means:

The right size! A life jacket is too big if it can easily ride up when you lift your hands over your head. It’s too small if the inside label specifies a weight limit that you exceed.
Appropriate for the activity! Different life jackets are made for different activities. Be sure to check the inside label to determine what activity a lifejacket is made to handle. For example, not all life jackets are appropriate for use on a personal watercraft or for skiing.

In good condition! Using a life jacket as a seat cushion on the boat is one sure way to reduce the life jacket’s buoyancy. Life jackets need to be in serviceable condition, with no torn threads, holes, or flotation missing.

Buckled & zipped! Wearing a life jacket haphazardly isn’t going to be nearly as effective in saving a life as one that’s worn in the manner it was intended. If a life jacket isn’t secured around the body, it could come off when you hit the water.

Knowing how to help yourself stay safe is an important step when heading out to a lake, pool, or other body of water; but knowing how to help others is equally as important.

“Reach, Row, Throw, Don’t Go!” is a mnemonic tool to remember when dealing with a potential drowning situation. While each word has a specific meaning, the basic message is to encourage a rescuer to find any means of helping a person besides going in after the victim him or herself.

People who feel that they are drowning have an increase in adrenalin which enables them to become extremely powerful. Their fear turns into panic which can take the well-intentioned rescuer into the water with them. Rescuers should instead stay on the bank or in the boat and reach a stick, a paddle, or anything else that could be grabbed onto by the drowning victim. Tossing a life ring or throw bag to someone in the water is also a life-saving option.

Kids Water Safety Zone

Attention kids and parents! Visit our Kids Water Safety Zone webpage created just for you. This webpage is full of fun water safety activities, links to fantastic resources, and great tips that will keep you and your family safe while you are recreating in and around water.


Life Jacket Loaner Program

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Cordell Hull Lake is helping keep kids and adults alike safe by participating in the Life Jacket Loaner Program. This program allows boaters and swimmers to borrow a child’s or adult life jacket for the day, at no charge!

If you don’t have enough properly-fitting life jackets on board or need a life jacket in a designated swimming area, simply stop by one of the life jacket loaner boards located at Defeated Creek Campground, Defeated Creek Day Use, Wartrace Day Use, Roaring River Day Use, and Salt Lick Campground. When finished, simply return the jackets to the same location.  If any damage or present please contact the Natural Resource Management Office 615-735-1034.

(News Report) Investigators: Drowning is Silent

This story is from Fox 9 News in Minneapolis-St. Paul. It is important to watch this to have a greater understanding of how drowning is a silent event, and the importance of keeping an eye on people in the water and knowing the signs of drowning. This is a must watch!